The crime wave sweeping across the country has hit the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in full force with dastardly killings in one of its satellite towns. ADEOLU JOHNSON reports
Gwagwalada, headquarters of Gwagwalada Local Government Area Council, was hitherto a serene town except for its Motor Parks and markets which are usually a hub of activities round the clock. Life inside Gwagwalada town is relatively peaceful with everybody going on about their businesses.
There are a quite number of Federal Government establishments such as the School of Customs, banks and private companies in area that boasts of the most revenue amongst the local governments in the FCT.
The serenity of the town was shattered last penultimate weekend when armed robbers and kidnappers swooped on the town.
The first casualty was a Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria young reporter, Chris Edoga, who was murdered in his home in Gwagwalada, Abuja few hours after leaving office. He was reported dead few minutes after arriving the General Hospital in the town.
Edoga was allegedly attacked and stabbed severally in the chest. He did not survive the attack as he gave up the ghost leaving behind a wife, children and aged parents. It was gathered that the armed bandits later carted away all electronics gadgets and other belongings in his sitting room.
Hardly had the dust settled on Edoga’s attack than the reign of terror continued at the home of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman in the Area Council , Husaini Sarki Paida, who was shot dead by some unknown gunmen. The gunmen also kidnapped the deceased’s 15-year-old daughter identified as Saude.
Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, , Adamu Mustapha, confirmed the development in a statement where he expressed shock and sadness over the brutal assassination of the ward chairman.
“Some months back, one of my friends in Zone 7 asked her daughter to take home some money to her mother at Mpape in broad day light.
“Unknown to the teenager, the taxi she boarded was the one belonging to One Chance operators (hoodlums that forcefully collect your cash or ask for your ATM Card by force).
“They later diverted the young girl from her destination and took her to a remote area along Zuba-Abuja road where they collected the money at gunpoint. Thank God they did not rape her,” a resident said.
Another resident narrated his own experience thus: “A colleague of mine (name withheld) was about crossing the pedestrian bridge at Finance Junction at about 7 pm when it was slightly dark. These bandits stopped him and dragged him into the dark corner of the bridge, tied his hands and legs and went to the cash point, where they withdrew all he had in bank before coming back to release him.
“If he had given a wrong pin number, only God knows what would have happened to him that night.”
Another case was when a Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) staff, Chukwunonso Nwabueze, received several machete cuts at Mabushi Bus Stop at 9.00pm. If not for his fitness, he would have been murdered,” he said.
Also relating his experience is Lilian Eso, who chartered a taxi from Kado Estate to Utako Market. She told Inside Abuja that rather than go up the Mabushi-/Kado Bridge, the driver went in the direction of Life Camp.
She remembered that while complaining about this, the taxi driver threw a powdery substance over her face. About an hour or so later, she was awoken by water poured over her in Karmo Market.
She was told she had been robbed and thrown out of a moving taxi.
In recent times, there have been complains about such crimes in the FCT with residents feeling uneasy to go about their normal businesses.
“Before we were scared to go out at night because those were the hours they operated. But now, even in daylight, it doesn’t feel any safer,” said Bunmi Okosun, a Dutse resident.
In the same light, Gibson Ikobi, a plumber, said: “I don’t use to allow my wife go out alone in the evenings but what I see now is that even us (men) are at risk of being attacked if our timing and location are wrong. It reduced sometimes ago but it now seems to be on the increase,” the Daki Biyu resident said.
Another victim, Mr John Adeleye, a businessman, said the minister needs to do some clean-up in various motor parks, bus stops, abandoned properties and other parts of the city to ensure safety of lives.
“I was once attacked at Jabi Bus Stop while returning from a transaction with a client. Two men approached me at about 7pm and pointed knives at me, demanding for my phone, wallet and the bag I was holding.
“If the place was well-cleaned with light and presence of security men, I do not think they will have the nerves to commit that offence.
“The FCT administration needs to work hand in hand with the various security outfits to combat crime in the city,’’ he said.
Miss Rose Gold, a Nurse at the General Hospital, narrated her ordeal with the criminals that dispossessed her of her valuables.
According to her, she bordered a Mercedes Benz car going to Wuse from Gwamripa Bus Stop, after which she lost consciousness until she found herself along Kaduna Road by the roadside.
“I think our bus stops need to be cleaned up and made conducive to ensure safety for the people,” she said.
Mrs Nish Adams, a civil servant, also urged the FCT administration to do something urgently about the safety of residents, saying activities of criminals within the city are increasing daily.
“Government needs to mount security checkpoints along major roads. By so doing it, it will curtail the activities of criminals,’’ she said.
They appealed to the Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, to order the immediate clean-up of motor parks and bus stops to address the increasing crime wave around the city.